Stone Brewing Co., a brewery and restaurant chain with three restaurants and four taprooms throughout Southern California, had to pivot completely over the past year as on-premise experiences like tastings and events became nearly impossible during the COVID-19 pandemic. We spoke with Gregg Frazer, vice president of hospitality at Stone Brewing Co. about that pivot and how they maintained a level of guest personalization despite fewer interactions with social distancing and convenience technology in place.
Stone Brewing Co. actually had the wheels in motion for contactless ordering in November 2019, and then when the pandemic hit, they went from seeing contactless as a tool to utilizing it to boost their profitability over the course of the challenging days of COVID-19. But how did this affect their labor model and guest interactions?
“We moved to a labor light model,” Frazer said. “To me, service is not order taking: service is all the other stuff around that. Shifting the order taking to the customer forces you to focus on what makes up the experience and the service.”
Frazer said that they implemented cicerones to walk around and help people (like a sommelier for beer) and trained their hosts to do a higher level of greeting. They also added a concierge feature to their app, which allows customers to tap away and employees can dispatch whatever is needed then.
“I think contactless ordering gives you the ability to flex your service and that is the future of where the hospitality industry is going,” Frazer said.
Watch the video for more insight from Stone Brewing Co on combining contactless technology with new-age customer service.
Contact Joanna Fantozzi at [email protected]
Follow her on Twitter: @joannafantozzi